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‘Twin Peaks’ Premiere: Debating Whether the Return Lived Up to Expectations, and What David Lynch Is Trying to Say

IndieWire critics discuss that freaky scene, a sweet moment and how or if "Twin Peaks" has changed in its return.

Madchen Amick and Peggy Lipton, "Twin Peaks"

Madchen Amick and Peggy Lipton, “Twin Peaks”

Showtime

<<Page 1: The Monster in the Box

Michael: One thing I’ve been thinking about that I’d love to hear your opinions on: how different (if at all) might this be if Lynch had made any movies since “Inland Empire”? I feel like what we’ve seen of the new series so far might have been closer in tone to the original if he’d gotten to flex his cinematic muscles once or twice in the last decade and explore whatever’s been on his mind. This almost feels as much like “David Lynch: The Show” to me as it does a continuation of “Twin Peaks.”

Liz: I mean, the thing that’s known about Lynch as a storyteller is that his style is incredibly organic. Chalk it up to transcendental meditation or whatever other personal quirks, but the idea that he doesn’t draw hard lines between any of his films or TV work doesn’t surprise me. But do you think it was really, tonally, so far off from the original?

Michael: It reminded me more of “Fire Walk with Me” than the actual show, yeah. What little we saw of Twin Peaks itself didn’t have that familiar quirky vibe to me.

Liz: R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Mike. But yeah, I hear you on that.

Kyle MacLachlan, "Twin Peaks"

Kyle MacLachlan, “Twin Peaks”

Showtime

Hanh: That this premiere felt like “Fire Walk with Me” maybe is the indicator that doing more films wouldn’t have affected Lynch’s style at all because it has already evolved. For example, “Fire Walk with Me” delved a little bit deeper to confirm that Laura Palmer wasn’t special. There are other Laura Palmers out there. And this premiere set up the idea that the evil the Doppelganger is part of is widespread. There are just more stories to tell, beyond the town of Twin Peaks, so we get some dribbles of fun quirks, in between everything else. I thought it was still charming and funny, along with freaky and scary. I don’t doubt that this show could’ve been longer than 18 parts.

What’s fascinating to me is that so much was set up in the first parts, and with such widespread evil, who is there to fight it? Will this be Agent Cooper’s superhero origin story? One word that stuck with me from one of the Television Critics Association panels that discussed the show was “hope.” That this show will bring the feeling of hopefulness in, despite all the darkness, which I’m excited to see. I don’t expect four weddings at the end or anything, but I am curious to see what a hopeful Lynch looks like.

READ MORE: Catch Up on All of IndieWire’s ‘Twin Peaks’ Coverage Here

Michael: Oh wow, that hadn’t occurred to me. I wouldn’t characterize the first two hours as “hopeful,” though the last scene comes close. And if anyone else demands to know what that song being performed is and where to listen to it, I give you “Shadow” by Chromatic (which I’ve had on repeat all day): https://soundcloud.com/adultswimsingles/chromatics. They did a great job of finding a Julee Cruise stand-in without just bringing back Julee Cruise.

Hanh: Right, the first two hours isn’t hopeful, but the trajectory of the season might be. Whether that plays out or if Lynch defines “hopeful” in a harsher way than I would, which is very likely, remains to be seen. I did like that the final scene was in The Bang Bang Bar with some of our old friends. The Chromatics fit right in with the world.

Michael: It was unexpected, but Shelly complimenting James from across the room was certainly a sweet moment to close with: “He’s always been cool.” I don’t remember them ever interacting before.

"Twin Peaks"

“Twin Peaks”

Showtime

Liz: It was definitely the sort of moment that “Twin Peaks” fans can appreciate. And based on the first two episodes, I feel like the show is very consciously only trying to engage those folks — which is more than fine. Know your audience. Don’t slam a 20 minute “Previously on ‘Twin Peaks’….” montage at the beginning. Do your own thing. Y’know — be “Twin Peaks.”

“Twin Peaks” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on Showtime.

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